Due to the bye week, Coach Jim Mora will not be holding his usual press conference today, but he did hold a conference call last night to talk about the Utah game.
The main takeaway from the conference call is that there will be no changes during the bye week. The Bruins will continue practicing at 7am on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. On the vein of "no changes" that also means there will be no changes to personnel. That's right, if you were harboring hopes of Andrew Abbott getting a few more snaps at CB during practice, sorry everyone, Coach Mora thinks they're doing well.
They did well. We eliminated the deep ball and they tackled well. I thought they played very solid.
Mora did have some comments regarding Abbott:
He's one of our captains. They respect him in the locker room. They respect him on the field. He comes up with plays when we need him. He had a key interception against Nebraska as well. We know he can play corner and sometimes he plays at nickel. He's a really solid player. What he lacks in height he makes up for with football intelligence, preparation and work ethic.
Mainly, UCLA will use the bye to heal their banged up players. A list of players with injuries:
- Jerry Johnson, who did not play on Saturday, with sore ribs
- Simon Goines, who left the game with an injured left knee. Mora did not have an update to his status.
- Greg Capella, who has been out due to a concussion.
- Darius Bell, who did not play on Sunday due to a broken rib.
- Johnathan Franklin, who will have a chance to heal from his hand and calf injuries.
Plus we are heading into third week, the first slew of midterms start next week depending on the class, so it's a nice time to have a break. Even Mora acknowledges this, which is probably one of the things I personally like about Mora, that he emphasizes maintaining a balance with the players:
I think it'll give a chance for our guys to catch their breath a little bit. It'll help them with school. When you have so many freshmen contributing and they have so much on their plate it can get overwhelming: adjusting to the college life, managing their time, managing their school work, football, social. I think it's good for us to take a break from the emotional part of football.
Mora does note that they will be working on game situations and on areas that they need to work on this week. Game preparation for Arizona State will begin next week.
We will be spending the week looking at football halfway through the season, a glance at recruiting so far, and also beginning to focus on basketball, as practice formally started on Friday and we still have many unresolved issues. The football team may have a bye, but we never rest.